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Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream Hardcover – February 1, 2000


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Editorial Reviews

Review

This book must be taken seriously. Bennett gets some things right.... But Bennett gets more wrong than he gets right. -- The New York Times Book Review, James M. McPherson

About the Author

Lerone Bennett Jr. is the executive editor emeritus of Ebony magazine and the author of 10 books, including Before the Mayflower, Great Moments in Black History, Pioneers in Protest, The Shaping of Black America, and What Manner of Man, a biography of Martin Luther King. He lives in Chicago.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 652 pages
  • Publisher: Johnson Publishing Company, Inc.; Third Printing edition (February 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874850851
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874850857
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,729 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Alan Mills VINE VOICE on September 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Lerone Bennett has accomplished a feat few historians have tried, and at which even fewer have succeded--giving us a new perspective on Abraham lincoln and his presidency.

It is by now well established that the Emancipation Proclamation did not, in fact, free anyone--it applied only to those areas of the Confederacy over which the union exerted no control. However, Bennett takes this well established fact and goes much, much further. By adopting the perspective of the slave, he demonstrates that not only didn't Lincoln free anyone, but he in fact succeeded in postponing freedom for hundreds of thousands of slaves. Prior to the Proclamation, Congress had already enacted the Confiscation Act, which authorized the Army to free the slaves of anyone in rebellion against the United States. the effect of the Proclamation was to stop the Confiscation Act from being enforced--thus relegating every slave in territory conquered by the Union Armies to additional months of slavery.

Further, Bennett makes the compelling case that this was not an inadvertent failing (or a product of necessity) but an intentional strategy by Lincoln. Tracking Lincoln's history from his earliest years as an Illinois legislator, Bennett successfully argues that Lincoln never wanted Blacks to be able to live on equal terms with Whites. Even after the civil war was won, lincoln was still against freeing the slaves; trather, he wanted them deported to Central America or Africa.

As Bennett notes, had such a mass deportation plan for ethnic minorities been proposed in our century, it would properly have been labelled genocide (think of the Serbian plans to remove all Albanians from Kosovo). In other words, from the slaves' perspective, Lincoln believed in ethnic cleansing, not emancipation.
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332 of 417 people found the following review helpful By Clay W. Sigg on July 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Once you've read this book, you will never look at Abraham Lincoln in the same way. Bennett writes a polemic here, but it is a well-researched and passionate effort. Although some of his conclusions are suspect, I respect the basic premise of this book, which is that Lincoln was a thorough going racist. Bennett proves that Lincoln's political mentor was Senator Henry Clay, a Kentucky slave owner. Lincoln exhibited racist speech using the pejorative for "Negro" up until the last days of his life. He consistently frequented "black face" comedy shows that denigrated blacks in stereotypical ways. Lincoln always supported fugitive slave laws in Illinois and nationally. The Lincoln described by Bennett completely missed the concept of full emancipation for all African Americans. His lukewarm Emancipation Proclamation was only an attempt to stave off the radical abolitionists who were pressing for full freedom for all Black Americans. Lincoln's Proclamation promised to emancipate blacks in areas currently in rebellion (in which Lincoln had no jurisdiction), and did not emancipate slaves in the areas that had not seceded or were militarily re-occupied. It was a halfway measure designed to obfuscate Lincoln's true agenda, i.e., gradual emancipation and/or deportation for colonization of the native born African American population. Bennett does a credible job showing that Lincoln's speeches, including the Gettysburg Address, were high sounding but did not include African Americans in the great American ideal of freedom for all. "All men are created equal" did not include blacks until Lincoln had been assassinated and was not able to obstruct the final version of the thirteenth amendment.Read more ›
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124 of 162 people found the following review helpful By Ted Ficklen on May 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is the most interesting book about Lincoln since Gore Vidal wrote his novel. Mr Bennett's Lincoln is not the familiar figure of Carl Sandburg's bio, but still believable. Bennett, author of Before The Mayflower, gives us a pragmatic, ambitious, scheming Politician. Lincoln apparently didn't care much for black people personally, enjoyed the racist humor of the time, and may have actually been a racist himself. Bennett makes a convincing case that Lincoln would rather have sent black slaves back to Africa instead of integrating them into post-Civil War society. This is a fascinating portrayal. The only reason I dont give it five stars is that I am not yet sure how to square this with all the other Lincoln books I've read.
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Daryle Brown on March 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is no wonder that some folks have such narrow perspectives on this bit of history. I was lucky enough to in 1973 have had a history teacher that taught us the truth about President Lincoln, that he would have freed not one slave if he could have preserved the union without it.

As my Pastor often says, "We must teach our children our history, and not leave it to others with their own secret and not so secret agendas". Thank heavens there are scholars such as Mr. Bennett that know this full well and go about their business of telling truth to power.

Thank you sir.
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25 of 33 people found the following review helpful By David Eli VINE VOICE on February 15, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book refers to the Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln very often. There is a free searchable version online (the University of Michigan hosts the site)just search for Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln on google it's right there. Amazon won't let me give the link here.

Was Lincoln a racist? Yes
Was Lincoln a segregationist and white supremacist? Yes

Lincoln said in in his first debate with Douglas in 1858
CW v3 p15-16 of debate

"If all earthly power were given me, I should not know what to do, as to the existing institution. My first impulse would be to free all the slaves, and send them to Liberia,---to their own native land. But a moment's reflection would convince me, that whatever of high hope, (as I think there is) there may be in this, in the long run, its sudden execution is impossible. If they were all landed there in a day, they would all perish in the next ten days; and there are not surplus shipping and surplus money enough in the world to carry them there in many times ten days. What then? Free them all, and keep them among us as underlings? Is it quite certain that this betters their condition? I think I would not hold one in slavery, at any rate; yet the point is not clear enough to me to denounce people upon. What [6] next? Free them, and make them politically and socially, our equals? My own feelings will not admit of this; and if mine would, we well know that those of the great mass of white people will not."

"I will say here, while upon this subject, that I have no purpose directly or indirectly to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.
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